TikTok finds itself at the mercy of escalating trade wars involving the US, India and China, but marketers can apply learnings from successful brand activations on the platform, such as one in India for RB brand Dettol, to the copycat apps that are emerging.

RB became aware of the potential of TikTok when it experimented with its use around the the launch of Veet for Men, a hair removal product range. The company sponsored a hashtag challenge on TikTok called #FindYourSexy, encouraging participants to dance to a branded song (‘I’m Sexy and I Veet it’) before ripping away their shirts to reveal their hairless torso. The campaign attracted nearly 27 billion video views.

But when it was thinking about a TikTok campaign for its “marquee” cleaning product brand Dettol, RB found itself in an entirely new context with the outbreak of COVID-19.

Health and hygiene had become the number-one priority for Indian consumers, and so it was the job of leading brands like Dettol to “propagate” the government’s messages on hand-washing, according to Pankaj Duhan, marketing director for RB South Asia, especially in the context of COVID-19.

“As the COVID crisis hit the country, India would always be in a very precarious position because of [its large] population, sometimes the lack of access to education, but also lack of knowledge about the hygiene practices,” he said during a recent webinar. (For more details, read WARC’s report: RB uses TikTok to share public hygiene advice with #HandWashChallenge campaign.)

The brand had to not only sell products but encourage the right habits. And having learned that TikTok users want to be entertained, RB realised it needed to push this message in a “cool” manner, rather than “sermonising” to users about the importance of good hygiene.

The resulting campaign, #HandWashChallenge, aimed to reach as many people as possible and encouraged users to perform a dance routine that mimicked the act of washing one’s hands for the recommended 20 seconds.

The goal was 100 billion views; at the point of the ban in India, #HandWashChallenge videos had been viewed nearly 125 billion times, and 75 million videos had been created.

“When you get that kind of a scale, you can show that the habit that you’re wanting to inculcate is propagating for the [wider] country as well,” said Duhan.

Sourced from WARC